TRACE Academic Waiver Policy

Academic Waiver Policy FINRA offers academic waivers for Real-Time Market Data fees to qualifying academic institutions. Colleges and universities may apply for a waiver of the monthly market data and annual administration fees associated with those devices used by students and professors in the university or college research and classroom environments only.

Qualified academic institutions have the two following options to access Real-Time Data:

(1) Access via Market Data Terminal: If qualified academic institutions have Market Data Terminals (e.g. Bloomberg Professional, MarketAxess BondTicker, Reuters, TradeWeb or other) on site, they may request the Academic Fee Waiver and have the data permissioned on those terminals free of charge.

To be considered for an academic waiver, the university's program sponsor should submit a written request to FINRA Data Services. The request must be printed on university letterhead and include the following information:

  • Name and description of the academic program;
  • Company and contact name of the external distributor to provide the data;
  • Number of devices with access to real-time data;
  • Approximate number of students and faculty in program;
  • Brief description of how market data will be used in program.

The request should be sent to the following address:

FINRA - TRACE Data Services
One Liberty Plaza, 52nd Fl.
New York, NY 10006
Telephone: (888) 507-3665
Fax: (212) 858-4083

FINRA will consider waiver requests on a case-by-case basis. Please allow two to three weeks for processing.

(2) Historical Data Access: Qualified academic institutions can get access to historical data via either Wharton Research Data Services (WRDS) or via University of Houston, which makes the data available through a joint program with Mergent (as per contact information below).

Mergent Inc.
Karen Peterson
(704) 559-6943

Wharton Research Data Services
Robin Gold

The Academic Waiver Policy does not cover vocational education, and FINRA's policy is not to consider granting an academic waiver if the data is to be used for vocational purposes or in support of actual securities trading.

It should be noted that the Academic Waiver Policy applies only to the market data fees. The policy does not cover distributor's access or telecommunication charges. Moreover, FINRA's policy is not to waive any of its other contractual or administration policies for academic institutions. Schools are still required to execute the appropriate subscriber and/or distributor agreement. For distributor-controlled devices, the university must execute a FINRA Subscriber Agreement with its market data distributor. To obtain a data feed product, the school must complete and submit the appropriate distributor agreement to FINRA Data Services for approval prior to initiation of service.

Questions regarding the Academic Waiver Policy should be directed to FINRA TRACE Data Services at (888) 507-3665 or